“I want to be involved with caring for people, and I want a major that I can use after I graduate that will benefit others and is useful.”
Chresten Armstrong never planned on going into nursing. When he started at BYU after returning from his mission in Micronesia, he selected biology as his major and started on the pre-med track. Within a semester, he realized that while he didn’t find the material difficult to understand, he couldn’t see himself studying biology for four years. Then, one day, he went through all of the majors and stumbled across nursing. “When I came across nursing, it just kind of clicked. I was like, I can do that, and I want to do that,” Chresten explains. “I want to be involved with caring for people, and I want a major that I can use after I graduate that will benefit others and is useful.” Since declaring, he’s never looked back.
His experiences with the faculty at the College of Nursing have been positive and sustained him through his nursing education. As a fifth-semester student, he currently has Dr. Renea Beckstrand, who he admires for her organizational skills and willingness to help him. “I emailed her a question, and she emailed me back with her number and said, “call me.” It was just awesome how responsive and quick she was,” Chresten says. He also carries a special love and appreciation for Dr. Corinna Tanner, Dr. Karen de la Cruz, and Dr. Blaine Winters, who have also been clinical instructors.
His advice for current and upcoming nursing students is simple yet crucial to having a successful nursing education. “Get your study groups,” he says, mentioning that effective study groups can serve as excellent test prep. “And try to get your generals out of the way because those can make the program even harder,” he adds.
Outside of nursing, Chresten enjoys spending time and watching movies with his wife. They also enjoy going to Southern Utah, where his family lives and he calls home, and exploring the scenery through hiking, rappelling, and canyoneering. As a job, he works as a handyman and likes to fix and tinker with various items. And while he doesn’t have a ton of time for it now, Chresten loves running and wants to rededicate himself to it during the summer. As a long-term plan, he wants to compete in some half-marathons or a half-Ironman.
When Chresten graduates in December 2022, he plans to immediately work in acute care as he likes giving specialized care and caring for a smaller population of patients. His long-term plans are to go to medical school, with his end goal becoming an orthopedic surgeon. “I think it’d be cool to fix the human body,” Chresten says. As a pre-med nursing student, he understands that his situation is unique, but he is hoping that gives him a unique perspective that will help him in the future. “I really do think nursing is a great field, and I think it’ll be helpful. As a physician, I hope I can empathize with what the nurses are doing by having that background. It will hopefully help me be a better-prepared physician.”
Chresten’s testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ has carried him through nursing, especially as he has contemplated on the death and suffering that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought. “In any field of nursing you do, you’re going to see sad things. You’re going to see death. But, with the gospel background, there’s a comfort in that, and you realize it’s not the end, and you don’t have to be scared,” he explains. “And you don’t want to force your beliefs on anyone, but I feel like it allows you to kind of be a strength to others, even if they don’t share the same beliefs.”
We are so grateful for Chresten and his contribution to the nursing program. We can’t wait to see all the things he achieves and accomplishes!